I will do my best to focus in this particular post, because in America, the level of customer service at most locations is very discouraging. Finding someone to help you at Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot to help you find something you need to buy is more difficult than finding someone with a full set of teeth at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. I could write books about bad customer service experiences, but I will try to stick with just one.
Although the customer service is pretty poor at most drive thru fast-food joints, I had a particularly frustrating experience this evening with my two older boys at a national fast food chain that will remain anonymous.
We were returning from a birthday party and the boys wanted root beer floats, and I wanted a Diet Coke (to help me sleep.) At the menu board, I noticed that they had root beer and ice cream cones on the menu, so I asked for two root beer floats.
“We don’t have root beer floats”, the voice stated in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice.
“Are you out of root beer or ice cream?” I asked.
“No.” came the reply.
“So can you make me a root beer float? It is just root beer and ice cream.”
“I can’t” came the reply.
Then my sarcastic side kicked in.
“Well, I can explain it to you. You take a cup, put some root beer in it and leave some room at the top. Then you put in some ice cream.” I said, in a slow, deliberate tone.
“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t do that,” came the voice.
“Are you disabled? Maybe someone else there has the necessary motor skills to do it for you.”
“Sir, are you going to order, or what?”
So, I ordered two cups of root beer, no ice, two ice cream cones, and my large Diet Coke and I pulled around to the window.
As the cashier took my money, Nigel, my 8-year old son said, “Excuse me, sir.”
The cashier stopped and looked at him.
“I can show you how to make a root beer float. It is easy. You just mix the ice cream with the root beer. If you want it creamy, you can blend it, but you don’t have to.” Nigel said in a sincere, helpful tone and with a smile. The kid at the window looked like he was maybe 18, and he just stared at him.
“Of course I know how to make a root beer float,” he said. “I am not allowed to.”
The look on Nigel’s face was priceless. He couldn’t fathom why someone would not be allowed to mix ice cream and root beer.
I took the ice cream cones, and the cups of root beer one at a time. They added ice in spite of my request to not put ice, so I had to fish the ice out, and then I dumped the ice cream from the cone in the root beer, and drove off.
Apparently finding someone who really cares about the customer in a fast food restaurant drive thru is harder than finding someone at a Star-Trek convention who doesn’t have acne.